Playoff soccer set to get underway this week

By: Nick Pecoraro
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The CIF Sac-Joaquin Section released its boys and girls soccer playoff brackets for all divisions Friday afternoon.


Plenty of local teams will continue their season for at least one more game on the pitch this coming week. Here is a quick rundown.

The Granite Bay girls team, who won the Sierra Foothill League championship after going nine straight matches without a loss, draws the No. 2 seed in the Division I bracket.

The Lady Grizzlies will host No. 15 Lodi (5-11-2, 4-5-1) out of the Tri-City Athletic League at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening.


Granite Bay (10-1-4, 7-1-2) has a balanced scoring attack, which is led by sophomore Bella Ternero’s four goals. The Lady Grizzlies feature six other players with multiple goals on the season. Granite Bay also gets it done with defense and goalkeeping, having allowed just three goals during SFL play thanks to junior goalie Summer Holt.


The Granite Bay boys (10-6-2, 4-5-1) draw a 6-seed in D-II and a home match Tuesday against No. 11 Ponderosa (7-8-4, 6-2-2) after the Grizzlies finished fourth in the SFL. Granite Bay shut out the Bruins 3-0 on Dec. 15.


Also in the D-II boys bracket locally is Capital Valley Conference runner-up and No. 3 seed Woodcreek (15-2-0, 10-2-0), who will host No. 14 Lodi Tuesday night.


Josh Gaeckle and Kyle Prusia lead the Timberwolves’ offensive charge while Connor Branson is the main stopper between the posts for Woodcreek, who has won five straight entering the postseason.


The Lady Timberwolves are on the other end of the 3-14 matchup in the girls D-II bracket. The 14th-seeded Woodcreek girls (7-9-3, 6-5-1) will travel to No. 3 Ponderosa, who went unbeaten in the Foothill Valley League.


Representing as the SFL champions, the No. 4 Whitney boys (11-3-3, 7-2-1) will host No. 13 Pleasant Grove in the D-I boys bracket Tuesday. The Wildcats, who won their first league title since 2009 when they were a member of the Pioneer Valley League, are led by senior Zach Mason, who is headed to CSU East Bay to play soccer next year.


The Lady ‘Cats, who went 5-2-3 for third place in the SFL, drew the No. 2 seed in the girls D-II tourney and will host No. 15 Oakmont (12-9-2, 6-3-1), the FVL runners-up.


The Placer boys soccer team draws a 14-seed in the D-IV tournament and will travel to Galt Tuesday to take on third-seeded Liberty Ranch.


The Hawks (20-2-0, 8-2-0) were second only to rival Galt in the Sierra Valley Conference. Liberty Ranch’s only two losses came at the hands – or feet – of the Warriors, who at 19-1-1 drew the No. 1 overall seed in D-IV.


Placer (5-6-5 overall) went 3-4-3 for a fourth-place finish in the FVL. The Hillmen are led by freshman Alejandro Prieto, whose 10 goals paced the team this season. Seniors Jesus Carrasco and Cyrus O’Neal and juniors Tommy Griffitts and Mitchell Keddie are also capable of putting one in the net for Placer.


Also coming out of the FVL on the boys side, league champion Oakmont (11-3-3, 7-0-3), who captured its first league title in boys soccer since 1992, will be on the road as a 9-seed in D-II to take on No. 8 Johansen in Modesto Tuesday. The Lincoln Fighting Zebras (10-4-8, 4-1-5) are the 12-seed in D-II and will head to No. 5 Roseville (13-5-0, 9-3-0), who finished third in the Capital Valley Conference.


Ironically, the Division II girls 5-12 matchup will also feature Roseville (12-2-3, 8-0-3), the CVC champions, hosting Lincoln (11-9-2, 6-3-1) Wednesday night. The Lady Tigers won their first outright league banner since the 2009–10 season when they were a member of the SFL.


The Colfax Lady Falcons (10-5-6, 7-1-2) drew a 3-seed in the D-V bracket and will host No. 6 Linden Tuesday.


Colfax, who took second to Center in the Pioneer Valley League, can be a dangerous team as it has had seven games in which the Lady Falcons have scored more than five goals.


The Del Oro girls, meanwhile, snuck into the 16th and final seed in the D-II girls bracket. The Lady Eagles (3-10-2, 1-7-2 SFL) will head to top-seed St. Francis (17-2-4) Wednesday evening.


The Del Oro boys (9-7-2, 3-5-2), who finished fifth in the Sierra Foothill League standings, impressed the section enough to receive a home game as the No. 7 seed in D-II. The Golden Eagles will host No. 10 seed and Monticello Empire League champion Rodriguez of Fairfield Tuesday.